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May 22, 2015

Commissioner successfully navigates Pimlico Special


Baltimore, MD ( - Post time favorite Commissioner pressed the pace and then took control on his way to winning Friday's $300,000 Pimlico Special at Pimlico Race Course.

The 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special is conducted at the same distance as Saturday's 140th Preakness Stakes.

Commissioner, owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, was ridden by Javier Castellano just a short while after the jockey won the track's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies with Keen Pauline.

Sent off as the 13-10 favorite in the seven-horse field, Commissioner was right along side of pacesetter Encryption, a 15-1 longshot, as the field went up the backstretch. The favorite took the lead on the final turn and drew away down the stretch.

"This was awesome. I'm very happy," Pletcher exclaimed. "I loved the position he was able to get into. Once he gets into that rhythm, you can keep on cruising."

Commissioner posted a 2 1/2-length win over Page McKenney and stopped the timer at 1:56.09 on a fast track.

"He was very strong today," Castellano noted. "He minded so well. I was able to tuck in around the first turn and he was just galloping along. He can go 24 (seconds) and 48, that's him. I didn't ask him until we turned for home. The more distance the better for him."

Finishing third was 3-1 second pick Cat Burglar followed by Top Billing, Encryption, Transparent and Vyjack. There were three early scratches: Tapiture, Albano and Kid Cruz.

Commissioner won for the second straight time this season and picked up $180,000. The 4-year-old colt has four wins, three seconds and two thirds in 12 lifetime starts for $797,237.

The colt won Gulfstream Park's Skip Away Stakes at the Pimlico Special distance on March 28 as the 7-5 favorite. He came back in January, after a six month rest following surgery, with a third at Gulfstream followed by a sixth in the Donn Handicap.

Commissioner was second to Tonalist last year in both the Belmont Stakes and Peter Pan.

Commissioner paid $4.60, $3.00 and $2.40. Page McKenney returned $5.00 and $2.80, and Cat Burglar paid $3.00 to show.

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